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Pixter review: testing the funky new smartphone lens at Hampton Court gardens

I’ve actually got a bit of confession to make, despite being a travel blogger I’m actually a bit of a technophobe. There’s probably about a zillion gadgets out there I probably should be trying out but with soo many coming onto the market every month it’s a bit overwhelming and actually hard to keep up. So I don’t usually, unless it’s something really outstanding or solves a particular problem I have.

Recently I was contacted by Pixter, a funky new start up which specializes in handy little clip on lenses designed to make your smartphone take better – and more fun – photos. The lenses aren’t gimmicky plastic things though, they are serious six multi layer pro lens, treated with anti-reflective, anti-scratch and anti-shock protection to make them as robust and user-friendly as possible. They’re also compatible with all smart phone brands.

The aim of these tiny little photography gadgets is to reduce the need for you to lug around heavy DSLR cameras and all the bulky equipment that goes with it. Their range of products are also pretty impressive too, and start from single fish eye lens to complete ‘pro kits.’ I opted to try out the wide angle pro lens (as I’m a sucker for landscape shots), the concept being that the wide angle lens widens your smartphone camera’s field of view.

The lens arrived immaculately presented in a cute drawstring bag (I love their attention to detail on the branding- nice work guys!) and pondered over the best place to give it a try. To take photos I usually either use my much loved Leica V-lux or my iPhone6, I’m seriously thinking about changing to the iPhone7 as I’ve heard the upgrade is a giant leap in camera quality, but for now I’m making do with iPhone 6, albeit with a new snazzy clip on lens! I headed off to Hampton Court, a place I’m lucky enough not to live too far away from as I thought King Henry’s former haunt would make a very elegant photographic muse for the afternoon.

The photos

As I mentioned before being a bit of a technophobe so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but after a couple of goes fiddling around with lining up the lens I managed to set it up properly (it’s not as hard as I’m probably making it sound, I promise) and then spent a few hours wandering around arguably the most beautiful gardens in South West London. The day was sunny but overcast in places which made great conditions for trying out a new camera lens. 

Being true to its name, the wide angle pro lens widens your smartphone camera’s field of view and after a few ‘before and after’ moments I immediately noticed the difference. Due to the converging optical system on the lens, the smartphone camera can capture 2.65 times more elements in your photo.

Here are the actual before and after photos so you see how it changes the photos with and without the lens but as you’ll be able to see the field of view that comes from a tiny little gadget is very impressive. It’s not really necessary for every shot you take of course but those particularly wide landscape shots where you’re trying to fit in as much as possible into the photo (and perfectly frame it too), then it works like a dream…

Hampton Court without the Pixter Wide Angle Lens

Hampton Court with the Pixter Wide Angle Lens

Without the Pixter Wide Angle Lens

With the Pixter Wide Angle Lens

Without the Pixter Wide Angle Lens

With the Pixter Wide Angle Lens (this is my favourite I love how everything fits in and is beautifully framed in this shot) 

Without the Pixter Wide Angle Lens

With the Pixter Wide Angle Lens

Without the Pixter Wide Angle Lens

With the Pixter Wide Angle Lens

Without the Pixter Wide Angle Lens

With the Pixter Wide Angle Lens

Without the Pixter Wide Angle Lens

With the Pixter Wide Angle Lens (you’ve probably got the gist now…) 

Features of the Pixter WideAngle Lens

  • Equivalent: 16mm
  • Surface treatments: Polarized/anti-reflective coating
  • 5 multilayer lenses
  • Resolution (lines/mm): 300
  • Distortion: <2%
  • Chromatic aberration: <0.5%
  • Weight: 36 g

What I loved

  • I love their branding and how nicely the product is presented, so much, in fact, it would make a great gift for anyone interested in smartphone photography.
  • The professional quality and their hardiness are also very impressive – I wouldn’t be too worried if I accidentally dropped it for example.
  • The price for the lens I tried is €49.90 including tax, very reasonable and definitely affordable for the average person.
  • It’s great that it fits any type smartphone too, making it an incredibly versatile and evergreen product even if you decide to defect to a different phone!
  • The range of lens and the sets (The Pro Pack, for example, contains the Pixter Super Fisheye lens, the Pixter Wide Angle Angle Pro lens, the Pixter Telephoto lens and the Pixter Macro Pro lens) are fab! 
  • I loved the way you can use your smartphone camera normally (but with just a different perspective on your shots) so no learning any tiresome new techniques!
  • Once you’ve got the lens fitted correctly and the right shot lined up then the results are really fantastic.

Anything I didn’t like?

  • I have to admit it takes a little while to get the hang of the aligning the camera lens, especially the first time you try it. After the second or third go though, it’s a piece of cake! 
  • If you don’t get the lens lined up completely perfectly then the edges of your shots can appear a little blurry, so it may take a few attempts. 

The verdict

I was definitely won over. As I mentioned before it’s not needed for every shot and the fiddly bit of applying it takes a bit of time to get used to at first, but for some shots in particular the results are seriously impressive (and that’s coming from a person who’s not a natural gadget fan)! Now I’m very keen to try it on on some cityscapes and other beautiful landscapes when I next head off travelling. So if you want to push the limits of smartphone photography without spending an absolute fortune, Pixter certainly offers some nifty little solutions!

  • Pixter lenses start from just €29.90 check out the Pixter website to find out more. 

This review is sponsored but this didn’t sway my opinion, I honestly thought it was a great piece of photography kit! 

Born in England, with a few family roots from Bavaria, and a heart in Scandinavia I've always been a bit of a restless soul. My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I've lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up over 40 countries on trips and living in Dublin, South East Asia and Australia. I'm a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, easy-on-the-eye travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian - from cloudberry liquors to Scandi Noirs. When not wandering the world, you'll find me walking my rescue dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Laines on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about returning to my all time favourite places in the world; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Thailand and the frozen landscapes of a wintry Iceland. Follow Becky on Twitter and Google+.

6 Comments

  • Francesca Jens

    21 August, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Thanks so much for this! I have actually been looking for a substitute to my ‘a-bit-heavy camera’ whenever I go for hiking. I love to take pictures but my phone delivers less quality than I will appreciate, so I am always forced to take the camera along anyway. But I think I should give this a try, it might be the real solution I have been craving.

    Reply
  • Ted

    6 August, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Not sure what to think about the wide angle. Like most there’s a bit of distortion. They have a telephoto lens as well, might be worth a look. The thing about the clip-on method is getting them perfectly centered over the existing lens on the phone’s camera lens, which often is set back into the case a few millimeters. Interesting idea though, might have possibilities

    Reply

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